Top 10 underpaid NBA stars in modern history 

The documentary The Last Dance brought to the attention of all NBA fans when players' contracts were voluntarily based on agreements spanning 7-8 years, plainly putting the athlete at a disadvantage given the yearly and staggering development of the Salary Cap. 

To prevent fresh imbalances in discussions with its players, the parties have changed the CBA to restrict franchises from providing contracts lasting longer than five years.

The Scottie Pippen deal, which he signed in the early 1990s, made him one of the lowest-paid players on the Bulls roster for a long time. Scottie, however, was not the only one who had to suffer an unpleasant deal. There have been many more throughout the current NBA history. Thus, this article compiles the ranking of all the underpaid NBA star contracts made over the last three decades.

10. Chauncey Billups

Photo: detroitnews

The deal in question was for 5 years and cost $27.2 million.

After a few seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Chauncey signed a five-year mid-level exception deal with the Detroit Pistons in 2002 for a total of 27 million dollars.

When looking at the outcome of that deal today, it was certainly a bargain for Detroit: Billups averaged 17.0 points and 6.3 assists over those five years, leading the Michigan team to a momentous title against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals.

During the violating contract term, he was named MVP of the 2004 Finals, appeared in two All-Star Games, and got two All-Defense and All-NBA nominations. Chauncey was left out of the top 100 highest-paid NBA players for numerous years, while consistently positioning himself in higher ranks from 127th in the 2002-03 season to 106th after 5 seasons.

9. Stephen Curry

Photo: abc7news

The contract in question was for four years and cost $44.0 million.

$44 million over four years may not seem like a huge amount of money, but it isn't when compared to a name like Stephen Curry's. Under the Rookie Scale Contract, the Warriors player signed an extension of that contract in 2012. The previous one only managed to play 26 games, which may have led both parties to believe they had reached a secret agreement.

Curry won the first unanimous MVP award in NBA history (2015-2016) and led the Warriors to a 73-9 regular-season record. Unfortunately, in 2015-16, he was only the league's 65th richest player and his team's fifth highest-paid. 

Curry was paid 'only' $ 12 million the following season, making him the 82nd highest-paid player in the league. All of this is to accommodate Kevin Durant's contractual arrival. The rest of the story is yet to be written.

8. Draymond Green

Photo: heatnation

The contract in question was for three years and was worth 2.6 million dollars.

Regarding his qualities and significance to the Golden State Warriors, it is certainly not Draymond's fault that he spent his early years in the NBA on a bad contract. The major forward, who was selected in the second round of the 2012 Draft, reached his peak at the end of a three-year contract with the Californian franchise, where he won his first championship.


To grasp the significance of the agreement reached by Bob Myers and the Warriors' front office, consider how much Draymond received in the year of his first championship, $915,000. The player went for the money in the following offseason, signing a five-year $ 82 million contract, which was later revised with a new contract extension that offered the total to $ 100 million.

7. Nikola Jokic


The contract was for three years and was worth a total of 4.1 million dollars.

Nikola Jokic was in a similar situation. The second round, where he was selected at number 41 in the 2015 NBA Draft, does not always result in lucrative contracts, much less guaranteed. The $ 4.1 million offered to Jokic over three years is a pittance for a player who has proven his worth since his rookie season. At the end of its first three-year contract, the center agreed to a five-year extension worth $ 147.7 million.

The Denver Nuggets have essentially gone all-in on their star, hoping to see if he is the suitable guy to build the franchise's present and future on. For the time being, the MVP title suffices.

6. Michael Jordan

Photo: nytimes

The contract was for 8 years and worth a total of $25 million.

These were different times, and the Salary Cap was quite different. Let's begin with a different assumption: the player's value was so high that any amount offered seemed insufficient in the first place, elevating any salary scale imaginable.

In any case, MJ signed an eight-year contract worth $25 million in 1988, which seemed like a good deal at the time. Jordan, on the other hand, did not anticipate that his impact on world sport would have such a significant impact on the league's revenue that the Salary Cap would be raised. Jordan was only the 32nd highest-paid player in the league in 1995-96, the final year of his contract.

He has made a fortune in the last few years, as evidenced by the 33 million in 1997-1998. Then, when you consider Michael Jordan's legacy over the last twenty years, nothing makes sense any longer.

5. Scottie Pippen

Photo: thefamouspeople

The contract was for 7 years and was worth a total of 18 million dollars.

Scottie Pippen was stuck in the so-called worst contract ever settled by an NBA star, as documented in the documentary The Last Dance, which marks the magical vintages of his Chicago Bulls. We're referring to the contract extension he signed after his rookie season for a total of 18 million dollars over seven years.

Pippen's contract, like Michael Jordan's eight-year deal, didn't seem particularly abnormal in comparison to the rest of the market at the time. In 1992-93, he was the league's eighth highest-paid player. Regrettably, things changed so dramatically. After finishing third in the MVP vote in 1993-94, the winger began to lose positions in the league's highest-paying contracts, eventually falling to 26th place. Things worsened in later seasons, with 121 players in the league earning more than he did in 1997-98, including five on his team.

4. John Starks

Photo: anetworth

Another player is John Starks. The contract was for seven years and cost $ 7.1 million. In 1990, the former New York Knicks star agreed to a truly bizarre contract with the Big Apple franchise.

The player was employed as a 'rotation player' during the offseason because he had not yet had the chance to display all of his skills on the court. During his rookie year with Golden State, he averaged only 4.1 points in 8.8 minutes of field time to lace-up shoes. But even so, he left the league the following year to join the WLB. As a result, his arrival in New York as a strange figure piqued everyone's interest right away.

However the damage had been done, and it became even more apparent when, in 1993-94, he averaged about 20 points per game, was named to the All-Star Game of the time, and was paid 1.1 million per season, making him the league's 189th highest-paid player.

3.  Isaiah Thomas

Photo: thehuskyhaul

The offending contract : Four years for a total of 27 million dollars

Isaiah Thomas, after an interesting career start with the Sacramento Kings, has slowly carved out his space to become, in a certain period, one of the most interesting players in the NBA panorama. The Kings had signed him for three years for a total of $ 2.1 million. A space agreement, in hindsight, for the Californian franchise. 

Due to a sign-and-trade in July 2014, he ended up in Phoenix with a four-year contract worth $ 27 million. He was quickly sent to Boston in February 2015, however, and it was here that he began to show that he was in a league of his own. Thomas became one of only three players in the first three seasons of the new contract to average 22 points and five assists per game while shooting at least 37 percent from beyond the arc.

Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving were the other two at the time. Thomas' career-high came in the 2016-17 season when he averaged 28.9 points (third-most in the league), 5.9 assists, and 52.8 percent from 2 + 37.9 percent from 3. Great for the league's 153rd highest-paid player. 

2. Kemba Walker

Photo: 985thesportshub

The contract lasted four years and was worth a total of 48 million dollars.

Kemba Walker's contract signed in the summer of 2014, with which he guaranteed Charlotte for the next four years at a salary of $12 million per season, remains an open question after his first four years in the NBA with an average of around 17 points per game.

Statistics that seemed to undervalue the true potential of a player who later increased his seasonal income to an average of 25.6 points per game in the previous season.

Walker averaged 23.0 points and 5.5 assists per shoe lacing during his four seasons with the offending contract, whilst also shooting 37.7% from beyond the arc. Curry and Kyrie Irving were the only other players in the same period who met these criteria. It was the League's 110th highest-paid player until a few months ago.

1. Ben Wallace

Photo: sportscasting

The contract spans six years at $33.9 million. The $46 million over three years with the Chicago Bulls wasn't exactly a steal for the Illinois franchise, but Big Ben Wallace was paid less than he deserved in previous seasons. We're talking about his six-year deal with the Detroit Pistons, which he signed on August 3, 2000.

Ben Wallace began to pile up four awards as 'Best Defender of the League,' five All-Defense Team nominations, and five All-NBA Team nominations during that contract, and the Michigan team truly made a sensational deal by evaluating the problem sternly. 

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